Montessori at Bay Farm
“The Montessori Method” has been successfully practiced for over a century. Created by Maria Montessori, a PhD candidate and Rhode Scholar, this method concentrates on the specific developmental needs of the child. Dr. Montessori studied education in depth and postulated that everyone learns differently, at their own pace. She created a new type of classroom, a prepared environment, to accommodate and stimulate the individual interests of her students.
What makes Montessori so relevant in our fast-paced world today? It stands out as a program of learning that prepares children for real experiences. The focus is not on how to memorize, recite, or even how to solve a problem, but instead on how to think through, understand, and ultimately invent new questions for tasks yet to be determined.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a Montessori program is if the school is associated with or accredited by a Montessori governing body and if the teachers are Montessori trained. It is important to research the qualifications of the school and find a place with highly trained teachers that honors the Montessori Method.
Bay Farm is accredited by the American Montessori Society , and offers programs with the following characteristics of a Montessori school:
- Mixed-age classrooms, where children learn from one another and learn to respect those more and less competent than themselves.
- Carefully prepared environments, rich in Montessori and other educational materials.
- Encouragement of independence and fostering healthy social development.
- Hands-on learning.
- Respect for the child.
- Teachers who share a common philosophy and have training in the method and the materials.
- Devotion to a curriculum that fosters peace and respect for diversity.
Unique Class Structure
In a Bay Farm classroom, the structure is unique. Organized by curriculum areas, with shelved materials in sequence by complexity, Bay Farm classrooms are structured to create a sense of order and beauty. Students are diligent in their pursuit of work, learning to manage their time and physical movement in the classroom. Older students are guided by the daily requirements, schedule and high expectations.
Education for Life
Montessori’s principle of “education for life” is pursued in Bay Farm classrooms everyday. Practical life skills prepare a student to become an independent person. In the classroom, this “education for life” takes place all day long as students accept responsibility for themselves, their environment and others. Students are assigned jobs in their classrooms, and have a sense of pride and self-confidence in their accomplishments. Exploring the environment beyond Bay Farm, students, beginning in Kindergarten, take regular educational field trips to enhance the curriculum and broaden the scope of the meaning of their studies.
Bay Farm is well-known for a hands-on approach to learning. The Montessori philosophy of working from the concrete (hands-on) to the abstract (conceptual) gives students a working knowledge of the principles to be applied. For example, the Montessori math materials engage students in the concrete manipulation of their parts. As the students work with the beads, rods, cubes, or other math manipulatives, their understanding of the relationship of numbers as symbol supports the practical application of math concepts in the classroom and beyond.